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I picked this as our next read aloud, after finishing the 4th and final book in The Moffats series. We’ve also read All of a Kind Family, The Saturdays, Betsy-Tacy and wanted something in that vein. The Vanderbeekers came highly recommended so we were doubly disappointed to find the language crass, trite, and overdone. The author tried too hard, forcing traits and unusual names upon the characters.
Also, as others have mentioned, right off the bat, there is discussion of divorce, where the children mistakenly think their parents have called a family meeting to announce the news of their impending separation (they haven’t).
This book is a far cry from The Moffats. It lacks the honesty, wholesomeness, and natural ease of those books. I’m sorry I purchased this and am on the lookout for a new read aloud.
A forced and artificial attempt to recreate the endearing atmosphere of family determination in challenging times. Poor character development, loose plot, and some outright disturbing references that are dropped on the page and not addressed. A little of everything comes down to a whole lot of nothing. Glad I read it before gifting it -- tossed it instead.